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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Lacking Candidates in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar

Image result for pilihanraya sg besar dan kuala kangsar

A Kadir Jasin

JUST briefly - are the parties involved in the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar parliamentary by-elections serious? 

In Sungai Besar, Selangor the UMNO/Barisan Nasional is nominating its Sungai Panjang state assemblyman, Budiman Mohd Zohdi, as its candidate.

It’s convenient. Sungai Panjang is one of the state seats in Sungai Besar parliamentary constituency. So he is presumably already well known among the voters.

PAS, on the other hand, is bringing in an outsider who is also a state assembly member - Dr Abdul Rani Osman, the Meru state assemblyman. Presumably he is fairly familiar to the party’s supporter in Sungai Besar.

There are two possible reasons for this. First both parties do not have suitable local candidates, which is not surprising, and second with the polls being held during the Ramadhan fasting month, a full-scale campaigning is difficult. So familiar faces are helpful.

The absence of suitable candidates for both parties should not come as a surprise. Talents are not exactly unlimited in the Selangor Umno following its defeat in the 2008 general election.

Attempts to regenerate the party have been a failure as manifested by an even worse defeat during the 2013 GE.

PAS, which was gaining strength in the state during the last two GE’s, suffered a major setback when it broke in two following last year’s party election.

It splinter faction, Parti Amanah Negara, has said it would put candidates in both seats. If that happens, PAS will be put at a disadvantage and the chances of Umno/BN winning are brighter.

The situation is Kuala Kangsar is even more bizarre. Umno/BN has named the widow of its deceased representative, (Datin) Mastura Mohd Yazid, as candidate for the June 18 polls.

Her husband, late (Datuk) Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad died in a helicopter crash at Sebuyau, Sarawak on May 5 when campaigning in the Sarawak state election.

She was a housewife although she once served as a committee member of the Chembong Umno division in Negeri Sembilan. She is lawyer by training.

Is this an attempt at garnering sympathy votes or an indication that the Kuala Kangsar Umno too lacks suitable candidates that “an outsider” has to be named.

The Perak Umno is a shade better than its Selangor counterpart. Although it lost the state during the 2008, it regained control a few months later when three opposition members crossed the floor.

In the 2013 GE, it did a bit better winning 31 state seats against the oppositions’ 28.

PAS has also named a female candidate for the Perak royal town - Dr Najihatussalehah Ahmad, who is its Perak Muslimat (woman) leader. She is a private medical practitioner in the nearby Bota town.

Ideally, it should be a one-to-one contest between Umno and PAS if the idea is to send a strong signal to the government of Prime Minister, (Datuk Seri Mappadulung Daeng Mattimung Karaeng Sanrobone), Mohd Najib Abdul Razak.

For PAS it is has the additional task of proving that it not under the spell of (Datuk Seri) Haji Abdul Hadi Awang and the talks of Umno-PAS cooperation are nothing more than a ploy by Mohd Najib to win the heart of the PAS president.

PAS has to prove that it is not Umno-BN sidekick.


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